Tuesday, 28 September 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
353. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will address the situation with Waterways Ireland in which water levels in the Grand Canal, in some cases have dropped by almost two metres making it impossible for barges to navigate. [46400/21]
Waterways Ireland continually monitors water levels in the canals and is committed to ensuring their continued use as ecological and recreational corridors.
Canals are fabricated water systems and as such, they rely exclusively on other sources of water to ensure levels can be maintained. Their management needs to be undertaken in a sustainable and adaptive manner, responding to changing weather conditions and the need for the canal and their water sources to recharge following dry spells.
Water levels experienced on the Grand Canal during the summer of 2021 were up to 700mm lower than normal.
Additional measures have been implemented by Waterways Ireland to improve the existing supply of water such as additional weed cutting in the supply channels and inspections on the canals for possible leaks.
A significant leak was uncovered recently and has been repaired. The levels have been recovering over the past number of weeks and with increased rainfall in the Autumn, it is expected that levels will recover fully.
Waterways Ireland keep all stakeholders appraised of the most up-to-date information and Marine Notices were issued in July and August 2021 to inform waterways users of the reduced water levels on the canals, these notices were also posted on the Waterways Ireland website.
As part of a strategic approach to water management, Waterways Ireland is currently developing a Climate Action Plan to develop projects and processes by which the agency can adapt to changing climate patterns.